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Kenny Nowlan

A slender young man wearing nice shoes, slim shirt and a wooden bow tie. My 1st impression of Kenny was also a relief : fancy people lived in my neighborhood. Newly graduated form MassArt, this photographer and film maker shares with me the portrait passion. “Others are what my work is about. My work is about life and the people within it.” With his polaroid or his digital camera, Kenny lends us his loving and laughing eyes. Growing up in the Bible Belt of Alabama is not the royal road to an artistic carrer. Yet, a photography class during his senior year convinced him he was actually good at something. Soon he knew that he would enjoy this something for the rest of his life. There remained to embrace his difference, which seemed coming from nowhere. He didn’t know at that time, but his grand-father used to be an artist too. These loneliness, regrets, lack of recognition sound painful. But when I look at him, I bet these trials shaped him, like the 6 tattoos adorning his skin. Stars on the tips of his ears, a red drop and a blue heart on the wrists, a dinosaur as a tribute to this grandpa and his original prehistoric story, a giving tree as a life metaphor on arms, and on the foot, a drawing of his personal creatures called ‘Those who don’t know who they are.” Kenny doesn’t know either, and I hope he never will, pursuing this question through his camera. Do you know The 5 of Boston, a group of now famous photographers including Nang Goldin or Philip-Lorca diCorcia? Trust me, if Nowlan is not the 6st – that is possible since he will move to NYC), he will build his own name, framing the world and its ordinary beauty, with the most bold quality in photography, especially in the present noisy  visual landscape : simplicity. Simple like a silent poem.

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